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When an employer in Tennessee has a work-related complaint to file, it’s not always as simple as going to a single agency. In fact, there are different Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development divisions, and each one handles different types of employer complaints. When workers know where to turn to file a complaint, the investigation process will generally begin sooner. Also, having the alleged violation(s) officially documented may minimize issues employees may have if they need to pursue legal action.

Issues involving wage and hour laws would be filed with the the Division of Labor Standards. However, workplace hazard issues are handled by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. If workplace discrimination is evident or suspected, the first step an employee would take is to contact the Tennessee Commission on Human Rights. An affected worker may also report discrimination to their nearest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office.

Safety and health issues may be reported to the TN Department of Labor and Workplace Development’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Reports can also be made anonymously. While employers in the Volunteer State generally have the right to discipline or fire employees for valid reasons at their discretion, such actions taken for questionable reasons — e.g., a worker being fired for refusing to join a labor union — can be reported to the state labor department. And complaints can be filed with the Division of Labor Standards if an employee is having difficulty collecting wages.

In some instances, a wronged employee may benefit from legal assistance. For example, a lawyer may be able to identify possible violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act if there are issues with overtime pay and fair wages. A lawyer could also take appropriate action if an employer violates Tennessee’s Whistle Blower’s Law and terminates a worker simply because they reported an illegal action or clear workplace violations.